Six Nations: We Blew It
8 February 2015, 10:25
Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw admitted his side blew their chance to make history in Paris by letting France off the hook on Saturday.
The Dark Blues were hoping to start their RBS 6 Nations campaign by recording their first win in the French capital for 16 years - and just their third since 1969.
But despite seeing substitute wing Dougie Fife cross over for the only try of the game just before half-time, the Scots suffered more heartache in the Stade de France as Camille Lopez kicked five penalties for Philippe Saint-Andre's men in a 15-8 win.
Scotland handed their hosts 12 penalties to the eight which went their way and Laidlaw admitted his side shot themselves in the foot.
He said: "We are extremely frustrated, we ran France close and I felt we played some really good rugby. We did a lot of good things, but one little thing near the end let them off the hook.
"We were on the wrong side of the penalty count, we were frustrated with that as it's a tough enough place to come to and win even when things are going well.
"The last thing we needed was the penalty count going against us but our performance on the whole was good. We stood up defensively under pressure but the players have already spoken about it, we need to use this emotion and take it into the game against Wales next week.
"We are playing at home at Murrayfield, we need the crowd behind us for a home performance and we just want to get back home and kick on in the Six Nations as this is just the start.''
Scotland came into the match in confident mood after an encouraging autumn series.
France are also on the up but despite having powerful talents like Mathieu Bastareud and Wesley Fofana in their ranks, they failed to break the Scots down.
What they did possess was Lopez's trusty boot and he nailed five of his six kicks to beat the Scots - including his opening effort which bounced over with the help of a post.
Scrum-half Laidlaw converted a penalty himself but when Fife, who replaced the injured Tommy Seymour, dived over just before the break, Scotland had a chance to grab a half-time lead.
However, the captain's conversion effort came back off the upright and Les Bleus - playing in unfamiliar red - went in 9-8 up.
Number eight Johnnie Beattie then left his side a man down when he was sin-binned for a foul at a maul and that allowed the momentum to swing back in France's favour, with two successful Lopez kicks putting them out of sight.
Head coach Vern Cotter, though, saw enough to suggest they will push Wales next week in Edinburgh.
The Kiwi said: "We were pretty close to taking something as we created a lot of opportunities.
"It was one of those days where they hit the post and the ball goes in and we hit the post and the ball goes out.
"We could have come away with a draw, the boys kept believing and that was really encouraging.
"They played with big hearts and we stayed in the contest for the whole game.
"I thought we defended well, our line-out and scrum stood up to what was a very physical game but our guys rolled their sleeves up and got stuck into it.
"I'm glad we got ourselves into a position where we were competing all of the time.
"It could have gone either way and on this occasion it went to a French team who I thought played well.
"But it's a good start for our guys, they are already talking about lifting the performance for next week.''
He added: "It's obvious to me that the players are very frustrated and very disappointed.
"That's a good emotion to have moving forward as we wanted to do better.
"There's a determination within the group to improve. There were positive things in this game and we need to develop those and move forward.''